PISCATAWAY, N.J. — No. 12 Rutgers men's lacrosse celebrated Senior Day and Alumni Appreciation Day with a thriller. Freshman Kieran Mullins scored the game-winning goal in overtime for a 12-11 win over No. 3 Ohio State.
Mullins had three goals on the day, and took a pass from Christian Mazzone and deposited the game-winner on the first possession of overtime. Senior Jeff George set a career high with three goals. Senior Connor Murphy had two goals and two assists, Casey Rose scored twice, and Mazzone added a goal and three assists.
Rutgers outshot Ohio State 41-37 but trailed 26-20 on ground balls. Max Edelmann made nine saves between the pipes to earn his 10th win of the season. OSU was led by four goals from Tre Leclaire.
“There was a great atmosphere here at High Point Solutions Stadium here on Senior Day and Alumni Appreciation Day,” Rutgers coach Brian Brecht said. “This was a must-win game for us. What a great way to get a win and allow these seniors to have back-to-back 10-win seasons. I’m certainly very proud of them, not just for today, but for what they’ve been able to do for this program.”
Ohio State jumped out to an early 4-2 lead, but a last-minute flurry from the Scarlet Knights evened the score after one quarter of action. Rutgers scored twice in the final 35 seconds, including a goal as the horn sounded to tie the game at four apiece.
The Buckeyes scored the next two goals to go ahead 6-4, and again the Scarlet Knights had consecutive tallies to even the score.
Rutgers pushed ahead for the first time in the game at 8-7. Jeff George scored three consecutive goals, and Rutgers held Ohio State to just one goal in a span of 20 minutes, taking a 9-7 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
However, OSU answered back with two quick tallies within 34 seconds of each other to even the game at 9-9 heading into the fourth quarter.
Casey Rose scored early in the fourth quarter to put the Scarlet Knight in front 10-9. Just 42 seconds later, Jules Heningburg tallied for a two-goal lead.
Yet again, Ohio State came back and tied the game. Leclaire scored first at 6:13, then tied the game at 11-11 with three minutes to go in regulation.
A key defensive stop kept the game even, as Rutgers man-down unit prevented the Buckeyes from scoring on a chance in the final minutes. RU held the ball at the end of regulation but could not find the back of the net and headed into overtime for the second time in a three-game span.
Joe Francisco won the opening faceoff of overtime, giving the home team possession. At 2:19 of the first overtime, Mullins took a pass from Mazzone, wrapped around the net, and deposited the ball in the net to secure the upset.
“Our seniors started this resurgence of Rutgers lacrosse,” Brecht said. “To get a top-5 win today and position ourselves to be able to go to the NCAA tournament, our resume has been very strong all year. I’m proud of how our guys have fought through and gotten big wins.”
The win marked the regular-season finale. The Scarlet Knights now await the NCAA selection show on May 7 to determine if they receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.